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Nevada Supreme Court keeps Las Vegas ballpark tax referendum off ballot

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(The Center Square) – A referendum to disapprove the tax portions of Nevada’s bill to provide a stadium subsidy for the Oakland Athletics’ proposed new stadium in Las Vegas won’t be on the November ballot after the Nevada Supreme Court rejected an appeal for the proposal.

The group Schools Over Stadiums filed for the referendum, which would have allowed voters to overturn the portions of Nevada’s SB 1 that would send taxpayer funds toward the project.

SB1 sends up to $380 million in public funding including a tax capture at the complex expected not only to pay off up to $175 million in bonds but also to fund future capital projects at the stadium, which will be required by a “first-class” clause in a 30-year lease the Athletics plan to sign.

The legislation gives the A’s until May 2025 to get stadium agreements in place, 18 months after MLB approved the deal.

The Supreme Court ruled that a lower court properly ruled against the referendum because “the petition violates the constitution’s full-text requirement and the description of effect does not comply with statutory requirements.”

The full-text requirement says that the law being challenged (SB 1) must be included in its entirety in a petition in order to provide voters the complete context of a vote.

“While we are organizing toward 2026, Schools Over Stadiums will continue to fund the constitutional challenge to Senate Bill 1,” Schools Over Stadiums said about the ruling. “We believe Senate Bill 1 is unconstitutional, and we have identified five violations of the Nevada Constitution that should lead to the bill’s invalidation.”

Those issues include that a two-thirds majority vote is required in each legislative chamber that creates, generates or increases public revenue in any form.

That claim is because public revenue is created through seat licensing provisions in the bill.

The group also claims that the bill does not follow the requirement of having clear legislative intent authorizing an expenditure with a maximum amount set aside. Instead, the bill authorizes the treasurer to pull unspecified amounts to pay Clark County bond debt.

The ballpark would be at the site of the now-closed Tropicana hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. It is expected to have a capacity of 33,000 and an 18,000-square-foot Jumbotron, according to the team.